(photos by Dr. Dom Maino, view the full album!)

Read Dr. Kelly de Simone’s wonderful reflections on COVD’s Annual Meeting in Jacksonville. This one is in the books, but don’t miss joining us in Bellevue WA in 2018! Come for the education, networking, exhibit hall, city explorations and camaraderie. Get involved, or come to re-ignite your passion, just as Dr. de Simone did.  

I have been attending COVD conferences since 1990, I have always enjoyed meeting with friends and colleagues, attending seminars, learning new tricks, and seeing all the innovations in vision therapy.   This year I had a new reason for wanting to attend.   Lately, I’ve found myself a bit overwhelmed with the day-to-day operations and demands of my optometry practice and wanted to attend COVD to help re-ignite my passion for the vision therapy side of my business.

COVD 2017 did not disappoint.  I arrived on Monday evening so that I could take Dr. Baxstrom’s entertaining course: Optometric Management of Patients with Acquired Brain Injury and Concussion.  I took it because I wanted the opportunity to explore one topic in depth and I was looking for a way to organize all the things I already do for concussions and acquired brain injury.   Overall, I found the class confidence-building — I am already doing most of the things that were talked about and am thinking along the same lines as my colleagues.   I really enjoyed Dr. Baxstrom’s humor and learned a lot of new tricks.  Did you know that 15 minutes on a swing, swinging forward and back, gives you almost 8 hours of serotonin release?  No wonder my babies always loved being pushed for hours on the swingset!  I found the rest of the seminars equally informative.  I especially loved Dr. Master’s lectures on concussions.  It felt great getting validation and support from someone from outside the optometry field.

I appreciated the way the seminar schedule has evolved over the years, with ample free time built in.   A HUGE part of any COVD conference is getting the opportunity to talk shop with old friends and new.  Networking is huge for me.  It is often the after hours get-togethers that garner the most opportunities for creative output, collaboration, inspiration, and innovation.  Over the course of a few days and a few dinners, I encouraged a colleague to get their COVD Fellowship, I discussed collaborating on a paper, I bounced practice management ideas off colleagues, and I even got new ideas for a particularly difficult case I’d been working on.

The Exhibit Hall was great this year.  There are so many new products and innovations and, most of all, I love shopping!  (Did you happen to see my new eyeball printed silk scarf I nabbed from the Good-Lite booth? Don’t be jealous, they have more!)  I liked seeing all the familiar faces and this year I truly became aware of how much vision therapy is a family affair.  A lot of our vendors run family businesses: husband and wife teams, a mother and her adult children, siblings, and offering products inspired by family members.  It gave me a nice feeling to know that vision therapy has inspired so many families.

Jacksonville was a  pleasant surprise.   There were  lots of fun restaurants, bars, and businesses to explore in and around Downtown Jacksonville, and I ate some delicious meals staring at that picturesque riverfront.  The Florida Theater was a personal favorite. I took some time on Tuesday night to go listen to author Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) talk about her new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I was inspired as much by her talk as I was being surrounded by the beautiful architecture of that historic theater.

Lastly, I want to extend a huge debt of gratitude to COVD.  I always appreciate the amount of time, energy, and effort you put in to making this conference happen every year.   Thank you for organizing and planning the schedule, thoughtfully supplying me with water and caffeine 24 hours a day, and for getting the hotel to provide us with that awesome flourless chocolate cake at the buffet lunch.   Well done and much appreciated.

Kelly de Simone, OD,F.C.O.V.D.

Eye Priority, PC

15725 South 46th street, suite 112

Phoenix, AZ  85048